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Collaborative Research Study Aims to Prevent Firefighter Injury Nationwide
Date:9/10/2009

danger to themselves, but the safety of their co-workers and the people they serve can be compromised.

A collaborative research study with the University of Waterloo, the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, Athletes' Performance, and the Pensacola Fire Department began in April to collect biomechanical data that may identify the potential for injury and help reduce the probability. The primary source of funding is a grant received from the Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders (CRE-MSD). An additional source is from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

THE REASON

A healthy firefighter is an effective and safe firefighter. If injury prevention is attainable, more lives will be saved. It will also save on the bottom line for many municipalities, not to mention the financial burden an injury could place on the families of a firefighter. Billions of dollars are spent each year on disability payments, medical treatments, duty restrictions, and lost work/training time, not to mention the countless human-related sacrifices being made. While it is unlikely that all firefighter injuries can be eliminated, risk management and training applications might offer ways to reduce present injury levels.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), in 2007 there were 103 firefighter deaths, 41 of those were stress related and 39 were classified as sudden cardiac arrests. In the same year, 80,100 firefighter injuries occurred in the line of duty. Out of those injuries, strains, sprains and muscular pains accounted for 45.1 percent of injuries during fireground operations and 57.8 percent of injury during non-fireground operations.

The National Institute of Standards
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